Things To Do To Help Your Child Defeat Demons You Cannot See
The Age of Information (overload) is upon us and we are not equipped to survive it. It may sound like just another fancy term, but information overload due to social networking sites and the internet itself has brought about a slew of severe mental disorders. One such condition is clinical depression. Teenage depression is often dismissed as over-exaggeration or an attention-seeking tactic but if left untreated it could lead to potentially fatal scenarios involving suicide attempts. If your teenage son or daughter has depression, here are some tips on how to guide your teenager through depression.
In this article:
Parents Guide – How to Help Your Depressed Teenager
Understand the Problem
It’s been said that acknowledging and understanding a problem is 50% of the solution to it, but understanding depression is no easy task. Depression is a spectrum disorder, meaning it can manifest itself in various completely unique forms. Some symptoms are common across the spectrum, but they’re difficult to identify because depression often shows no observable signs. Nonetheless, if you think your child has depression, read about it from reliable sources and try to understand the disorder itself.
Book an Appointment with the Counsellor
Not for your kid, but for yourself. You cannot force someone to recover from a disorder they don’t believe they have, but knowing or suspecting that your child may have a severe mental disorder is a stressful situation to be in. If you want to help your teenager, you must fortify your position in advance. Dealing with a depressed teenager who is in denial can be harrowing and frustrating, but you must take every precaution to keep yourself firmly grounded and eliminate the chances of you snapping at them. Counselling will help you do exactly that. Besides, it ensures that your teenager cannot claim that psychiatrists are for crazy people, which is the unfortunate but popular stereotype.
Communicate with Your Teenager
Even in the absence of mental disturbances, communicating with a teenage son or daughter is a challenge. If they have anything similar to depression, it’s going to make Step 2 almost impossible since they will be in denial and are likely to view your actions as a challenge to their control over their own life. Don’t give up or get exasperated, and don’t outright say anything like, “You need help!” or “I’m trying to help you!” Stay as calm as you can and try to appeal to your child’s intellect. It is easier to get your teenager to admit they are lying about being okay through casual, friendly banter than via direct or indirect questions.
Bring in An Expert
Psychology is a highly advanced and complex science. It cannot be mastered by reading a few articles on the internet. The only way to tell if your child has depression is by getting a clinical diagnosis. Trying to counsel your child on your own and self-medication are likelier to cause much more harm than help, especially since the home-grown diagnosis itself could be wrong. Even if you’re certain that your teenager is depressed, get your opinion backed up by a professional to ensure that your concern doesn’t damage your child further. It could be any of a thousand conditions other than or in conjunction with depression and any of a million methods of therapy could be the right one for your child. Only experienced professionals can help you accurately guide your teenager through depression.
Stock up on Truckloads of Patience and Perseverance
When your child responds positively to your attempts to get through to them, the actual fight begins. Finding the right counsellor and psychiatrist for your child is very likely to be tougher than you may have imagined. Your teenager must be prepared to open up to more than a couple of professionals before you find the right fit for him/her. You’ll have to be the one to keep them from giving up, and depressed people can be very convincing about why they should give up.
Treat Your Teenager As An Equal
Somewhere down the line, your depressed teenager might begin to develop resentment in their heart towards you for continuously badgering them about “everything”. Don’t be the overly concerned, intrusive kind of parent. That might give them the impression that you don’t trust them, but you want them to feel the exact opposite. Offer your advice every now and then, but make sure you let them have their space. Your child needs to start loving and accepting everything they are, flaws and all. If you hover around them all the time, you might reinforce their belief in their incapacity to handle themselves as well as in the belief that you don’t think they are trustworthy enough to be left alone. Even if you see them crying, offer your shoulder with no questions asked and if they ask to be left alone, oblige.
Don’t Let Communication Stop
Your job does not end where the counsellor’s begins. No amount of medication and therapy can surpass what a parent’s love can do for a child. Keep in touch with your child’s counsellor, participate in activities to understand depression and other disorders, and spend some time absorbing whatever knowledge you can find about the ailment your child suffers from.
No matter how badly we may want to, we cannot combat someone else’s depression, even if it is our own child. Depression can only be fought by its victim. The best we can do in the face of teenage depression is to encourage and support our children in their fight against it by participating in group activities on depression designed to help families of sufferers to understand the disorder better.
We wish you good luck in your endeavours to guide your teenager through depression and hope they have a speedy recovery!